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Double Attack - The Ultimate Tactical Concept

  • IM Silman
  • | Mar 6, 2013
  • | 17634 views
  • | 40 comments

This week we’ll take a look at the extremely important concept of Double Attack, in which one piece attacks two enemy pieces at the same time (that’s the definition championed by Martin Weteschnik in his magnificent book, CHESS TACTICS FROM SCRATCH, 2nd Edition), or in which one move creates two different threats at the same time (the Discovered Attack, which was looked at last week, is also a form of double attack). The idea of a Double Attack being defined as two different threats is championed by Yuri Averbach in his classic tome, CHESS TACTICS FOR ADVANCED PLAYERS. At times a Double Attack is an obvious way to win (or regain) material, but at other times it’s a very important cog in a far greater combinative concept.

Since a Double Attack is an “umbrella” that covers most other tactical themes, the common fork should also be considered a Double Attack:

This was pretty but simple. However, our next example shows the “fork as double attack” (and also a Rook move that creates a double attack) in a far more complex setting:

As you can see, if you don’t master the basic “bone structure” of the tactical themes, using them in truly difficult settings won’t be possible (don’t despair – this kind of stuff can be hard even for pros!).

When thinking of a Double Attack, one might suppose that a double “threat” means attacking two pieces at the same time (as Weteschnik would have it). However, when Averbakh says “two threats”, he really means two threats, even if nothing is attacked! Here’s a great example of this from his book.

It looks like the game should end in a draw since black’s King can easily stop the f-pawn and, after …Kg6 followed by …Nb1-c3-d5, even win it. However, White actually manages to win the game by creating two very different threats in vastly different areas of the board!

Weteschnik demonstrated a Double Attack by showing a famous game by the great Bent Larsen:

Personally I don’t care how one wishes to define a Double Attack (all these definitions are similar to each other, with different shades of grey tossed in). All that matters is that you’re aware of it, and that you know that some form of Double Attack is the backbone of most tactical themes.

The following puzzles should push the concept home (as usual, after trying to solve a puzzle, please check out the variations and prose hidden in each one by clicking SOLUTION and then MOVE LIST):

Comments


  • 10 months ago

    Grumly06

    Thanks mr Silman for providing such nice articles (and books !)

    Beginners who want to have a first look at double attack can have a look to my blog post here: http://chesstrainerapp.blogspot.fr/2014/01/double-threat.html

  • 20 months ago

    villagecool

    chessfreak asked:

    in double attack magic why didn't the black king take the rook on d6 move 11???

    because than bishop takes rook.

  • 20 months ago

    chessfreak800

    in double attack magic why didn't the black king take the rook on d6 move 11???

  • 20 months ago

    chessfreak800

    on the second diagram move 32 in blue why didn't he take the queen???

  • 20 months ago

    chessfreak800

    on the second diagram move 32 in blue why didn't he take the queen???

  • 20 months ago

    chessfreak800

    i've seen the first diagram it was so cool

  • 20 months ago

    keith_97

    wow

  • 21 months ago

    Ranger_Squad

    Thanks IM Silman..

  • 21 months ago

    falcogrine

    archmage- Black has a queen fork winning the exchange. See the prose for more detail by clicking "MOVE LIST" at the end of the puzzle.

  • 21 months ago

    archmage81

    in the first puzzle after Nh6+ why can't gxh6

  • 21 months ago

    Chess_Lover11

    You rock! Your articles are the most usefull ones for players ranging from beginners to experts.

  • 21 months ago

    NM JMB2010

    @nikiburny 4...Bc5! 5.Qh7+ Kf8 6.Qh8+ Ke7 7.Qxg7+ Ke6 appears to defend for black.

  • 21 months ago

    nikiburny

    in "Double Attack Magic!"  what is wrong with 4 bxg6?

  • 21 months ago

    Tharinda97

    Thank you

  • 21 months ago

    IM Silman

    Ranger_Squad (asking about the first puzzle) wanted to know why Black couldn't defend by 3...Ra7 4.Nf7+ Kg8. I added some analysis of this inside the puzzle (click SOLUTION and then MOVE LIST).

  • 21 months ago

    IM Silman

    In my game against DeFirmian, a couple people were wondering why Black didn't take the Knight on f5. Black would get wiped off the board after 24...gxf5 25.Nxf5 Qe8 26.Rd6 Rc7 (Black should let White eat the Bishop though his position would then be completely hopeless) 4.Qe3 (forces mate) 4...Ng8 5.Rxh6+ and mates.



  • 21 months ago

    Ranger_Squad

    in your 1st puzzle 3 Ra7 nf7+ kg8 than?

  • 21 months ago

    villagecool

    thank you for your inspiring and totally improving oriented articles. they are both tutorial and fun.

  • 21 months ago

    rahulkadge

    @Inigo-Montoya In the game "Silman vs. Nick De Firmian (2610)" why doesnt black capture the N on f5 (move 24)?

    tats because if 24... gxf5 25 Nxf5 Qd8/e8 26 Rd6 Bishop moves or support by Q or R 27 Qe3  

    hopefully my calculation is correct


  • 21 months ago

    SaiKrishna_K

    nice

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